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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Whole grains: Re-invigorate Your New Year’s Resolution

By Rachel Murphy

The third week of January is marked by wavering resolve to New Year’s resolutions.  If you have already regressed to former habits you are not alone!  A study from the University of Scranton found that losing weight and staying fit and healthy are top resolutions for Americans. But, only 8% achieve their resolutions.  The good news is it is never too late to start over.  Recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans can help adopt healthy eating habits such as increasing dietary fiber from whole grains.  Dietary fiber supports heart health and new evidence suggests that whole grain consumption is also linked with mortality.  

Wu and colleauges used data from two large cohorts of men and women in the United States comprising a total of 118,085 people who were initially free from cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD).  They reported that the group with the highest whole grain intake had a 9% lower risk of mortality and the two highest intake groups had 13% and 15% lower risk of death from CVD even after controlling for other lifestyle factors.  Even more compelling; every serving of whole grains (28g/d) was associated with a 5% and 9% lower risk of mortality and CVD mortality.

What makes whole grains special?  Whole grains are high in fiber, nutrients and antioxidants. Heart health, glucose and blood pressure improvements are linked to viscous fiber which is high in whole grains like oats and barley. Dietary fiber intake is well below recommended adequate intake in men and women across all age groups in the United States.  Re-invigorate your resolution and aim to incorporate more whole grains and fiber for your heart and overall health.


Main Citation

Wu H et al. Association between dietary whole grain intake and risk of mortality.  JAMA 2015, doi :10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.6283

Other Citations

U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Available from:

Whitehead A et al. Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat β-glucan: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr 2014, doi:ajcn.114.086108v1100/6/1413

Harris KA and Kris-Etherton PM. Effects of whole grains on coronary heart disease risk. Curr Atheroscler Rep 2010, doi:10.1007/s11883-010-0136-1